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Janet Tharpe

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A Little About Me…

It has been my privilege to work with individuals, couples, families in a variety of settings:  addiction and recovery; clients’ and families ordered into therapy by the court for sexual abuse in the family; grief and loss; and with children in residential treatment for behavior issues as well as children removed from their homes and placed in foster care.
When You Come to Your Appointment With Me, You Might Experience…

In a first session with me, a client could expect to spend about half of the time answering questions about him/herself. My goal while we accomplish this necessary and important task of assessment is to experience the therapy space as a safe non-judgmental space where there is nothing that is unspeakable. [This will, of course take some time for most clients to trust, but we begin building that trust from the beginning.] The second goal for the first session is to to find out what the client’s goal is for coming into therapy. My desire is that what a client experiences being in the room with me as the clinician is easy going, a good listener and a coach who absolutely believes that they can make the changes they want to make in their lives. My rather dry sense of humor often helps out here and makes it possible for a client to feel less defensive.
I’m most comfortable working with…

I am comfortable working with couples, in particular LGBT couples who have some issues unique to their situation. I am comfortable working with clients who are experiencing grief (not just due to deaths but to many types of losses we all face in our lives). I am comfortable working with clients who have experienced trauma that has caused them to be “stuck,” finding it difficult to move beyond the experience. I enjoy working with LGBT individuals and their allies and those who could be allies, but who have a difficult time with the concept that LGBT is a birth right, not a choice. This includes parents, teachers, grandparents, pastors, etc. I am also comfortable working with clients who identify as being “anxious” or “depressed.” 
My Training and Speciality Work Includes…

I am trained and licensed as a marriage and family therapist. What that means to me and my practice is that it is important to pay attention to the way the system is functioning. The system could be a couple, a family unit or an individual. [All of us carry beliefs and ways of doing things that we learned when we were young. Some are helpful. Some were survival skills that got us through tough things in the past but simply won’t work for us now. One of the important parts of therapy is to evaluate what works, keep what does and then learn new skills/interventions that are more healthy for us today. I have been trained in EMDR therapy which can be quite effective as in intervention to help clients with traumas large and small. I have a lot of experience treating addictions and recovery. As part of my work as a hospice bereavement counselor, I have worked with clients as young as 5 years old. Finally, i have done some training with a program that is part of the UofL regarding some of the unique situations and issues that confront trans-persons.
In my free time you might find me…

In my free time….I enjoy taking Maggie “Mayhem” Mae to places where she can run free. Often these venues include the opportunity for me to fish. I am a writer and that can occupy a lot of my free time. I asked a new 9 year old client what he did when he had had a bad day, as a way of getting to know each other in a first session. He did not know so I told him, “When I have had a really hard/bad day, I go home, get a bowl of ice-cream, pop Jurassic Park in the DVD player and watch dinosaurs eat people.” He cracked up. But that is true, I can sometimes be found lost in Jurassic Park.